The Ojai Studio Artists Second Saturday mini-tours begin on January 14 with four open studios in downtown Ojai. Featured this month are Andrea Haffner, Rex Kochel, Marta Nelson and Iris Williams. Studios will be open from 10am - 3pm. Admission is free, and the studios are all located within a few miles of each other.
With enthusiastic response from the community to the Second Saturday tours, OSA is scheduling mini-tours from January through July. "It gives people a chance to spend some in-depth time with each artist," Ms. Moran says. "With over 60 artists on the October Studio Tour, people really have to pick and choose who to see. This is a more leisurely tour."
A professional artist for the past 18 years, Andrea Haffner's resin cast pieces are unique and delicate. Inspired by the natural form - from yucca capsules to maple samaras, Haffner assembles and suspends bits of natural material in resin colored with transparent dyes. With a background in both photography and glass, light is a primary consideration in her work. Elegant yet abstract, she encases her assemblages within small sterling silver or larger steel frames. She creates jewelry pieces as well as large commissions. Haffner has exhibited extensively across the country and recently completed numerous large-scale commissions for hospitals, hotels and private residences.
After 34 years as an educator in the Ventura School District, Rex Kochel is now a full-time artist. His whimsical style evolved primarily from the use of blind continuous line drawings. He begins his watercolors on location, then continues to modify them in his studio before he begins to paint. His work reflects his travels to Mexico, Peru, Panama, Argentina, as well as time spent in San Francisco and Ventura County. He maintains a strong compositional focus in all of his artwork, frequently moving in the direction of abstract realism. His work can be seen at the new Remax Building in Ventura, for which he created 54 paintings which are part of their permanent collection.
Marta Nelson is a painter, printmaker and sculptor and a founding member of Ojai Studio Artists. A lifelong artist, she won her first art scholarship at 10 years old, and attended her first figure drawing classes at Chouinard Art Institute. She later taught at Bakersfield College, teaching painting and sculpture. Her art often reflects her interest in dance, her garden in Ojai as well as exotic scenes from her travels around the world. Her paintings and prints hang in private collections across the United State, Mexico and Japan. Marta is also deeply committed to the International Peace Movement. Incorporating peace doves in all her work, Marta was instrumental in establishing the first Peace Pole in Ojai.
Iris Williams sees art as a silent language. Her oil paintings are often mischievous and whimsical and also involve some aspect of storytelling. “Art was the agent that allowed me to speak,” she explains. She uses her art to explore her imagination and dreams. In all her work, whether still life, landscape or figurative work, she aims to elicit a feeling of wonder. As co-owner of Ojai Creates along with her husband Kirk Lowry, Williams sells art supplies to the community and has a longtime association with the Ojai Art Center.
A map for the January 14th event can be printed from the OSA website: ojaistudioartists.org. Any changes or additions to the list of artists will be posted there.